Burmese Democratic Leader Uninjured After Attack

A United Nations envoy reports that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leading pro-democracy leader in Burma, is without injuries after she and her traveling convoy were violently attacked on May 30. UN Special Envoy Razali Ismail was able to visit briefly with Suu Kyi, who is currently being held under house arrest by her attackers. “She is in good spirits and very feisty,” Ismail said as reported by the Washington Post.

Believed to be the work of Burma’s ruling military junta, the attack occurred while Suu Kyi and her convoy were touring a town about 25 miles from the Burmese capital. At least 70 people, many of them youth activists, are believed to have been killed in the resulting confrontation between thousands of attackers and about 200 of Suu Kyi’s supporters, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The US Congress is moving to impose tough penalties against the military junta – the Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would enact strict sanctions by a vote of 97 to 1. The House International Relations Committee approved a similar bill by voice vote yesterday, according to the Post. The legislation currently being considered would shut off shipments of textiles and other goods from Burma to the US that totaled about $356 million last year.

“It is time to reassess our policy toward a military dictatorship that has repeatedly attacked democracy and jailed its heroes,” US Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal. “The junta that oppresses democracy inside Burma must find that its actions will not be allowed to stand.”

Suu Kyi endured house arrest from 1989 to 1995 after she emerged as a leader of the opposition movement. The military regime refused to honor the results of the 1990 election, where Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) garnered an overwhelming majority of the popular vote.

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New York Times 6/13/03; Christian Science Monitor 6/11/03; LA Times 6/11/03; Washington Post 6/11/03; Feminist Daily News 6/9/03

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